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Philippines: Women seeks involvement in disaster risk reduction measures

8 March 2012

Davao City - Women from various sectors here is seeking their active involvement and participation in the planning and implementation of the local disaster risk reduction measures in the city.

The women leaders and advocates have articulated in the 2012 Women Summit Resolutions their assertion for women’s participation in special bodies such as in the disaster, rescue, relief, and rehabilitation management council. The drive was raised during the 13th Citywide Women Summit on March 1 in Davao City, which tackled women’s active involvement in environmental decision-making at all levels.

Davao woman leader and advocate Rosena Sanchez has shared the same advocacy to push for more women at the ranks of decision-makers in the council “in order to formulate policies on the environment.” Sanchez emphasized the need for women’s participation in environmental decision-making, noting that women get multiple burdens and are more at a disadvantage during calamities.

“Women are often left at the evacuation centers to attend to their children, with no privacy, no food and no water, while the men continue to work for a living. But it is usually the women who could solve the problem,” she told the 500 women participants to the women summit.

Geologist Beverly Mae Brebante of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in the region affirmed Sanchez statement, saying that “the consequences of hazards often turn out to be more severe for women than men due to culture and tradition.”

Brebante said that women with special needs such as the elderly, differently-abled, pregnant, and nursing women are left behind, or become the last to leave dangerous areas.

Exclusion of women from the disaster risk reduction measures has detrimental effects on women, she said, citing that early warning systems fail to reach women.

She pushed for gender and development to be mainstreamed in all stages of the disaster risk reduction program, to include both men and women as decision-makers from prevention to recovery planning.

“Regard women, just like men, as providers instead of passive receivers of support and protection,” stated Brebante, adding that “Women know more of the needs of the family and the community, especially on what to provide for their children.”

She urged the women to initiate information dissemination “starting in your families and in your communities,” as well as to participate in seminars and workshops on geohazards.

Sanchez and Brebante were among the resource persons during the 13th Citywide Women Summit where the 2012 Women Summit Resolutions were endorsed to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio through the City Social Services and Development Office.

“The City Government is one with you in meeting these (resolutions), but we also need your support for our programs for women to be successful,” Duterte-Carpio stated in her acceptance of the resolutions and message of commitments.

The Davao City Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD) spearheaded the summit as a kick-off to the 102nd International Women’s Day celebration.

It gathered around 500 women leaders from the local and national government units, Barangay Council for Women, people’s organizations, non-government organizations, academe and the private sector.

(PIA-11/Carina L. Cayon)

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